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Hair Salon Owner: Job Duties and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a hair salon owner. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Hair salon owners are professionals in the beauty and business industries. They may own high-end, urban salons with a large team of stylists, nail technicians and aestheticians or small, home-based operations with only a few employees. Many hair salon owners do double duties, both working directly with customers and managing the operations side of the salon.

Hair salon owners who also perform styling duties on customers will need to complete formal cosmetology training and earn a license. Owners who strictly manage the salon don't need to complete any formal education, though some business coursework is beneficial.

Required Education Formal cosmetology training required for owners who are also stylists; no formal training needed for owners who are strictly managers
Licensure Required for owners who are also stylists
Job Growth (2012-2022)*13% for all hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists; 11% for first-line supervisors of personal service workers
Median Salary (2013)* $23,140 for all hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists; $35,150 for first-line supervisors of personal service workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

The specific duties of a hair salon owner vary according to the particular salon, but generally include interacting with clients, hairstyling and performing other beauty procedures. Additionally, salon owners may provide aesthetic services such as waxing, makeup application and skincare. Salon owners generally choose the specific product line that the salon will work with; in some cases, the owner receives specialized training in that product line, and arranges for employees to receive the training and certification as well.

On the business side, a salon owner's responsibilities may include accounting, staff management- including the hiring and management of a staff of stylists and other employees - marketing, and salon design. For example, the salon owner may acquire office space, design and decorate the salon, order supplies and advertise the salon's services. The salon owner may also ensure that the business is clean and sanitary, and confirm that all employees have up-to-date licenses and certifications.

Salon owners generally handle customer service responsibilities as well. If something goes wrong with a customer, the owner is the final authority in the matter and responsible for making the customer happy.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists could see a 13% increase in employment from 2012 to 2022. Over that same decade, first-line supervisors of personal service workers such as hairdressers should experience 11% growth in job openings. As of May 2013, the BLS stated that hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists earned a median of $23,140, while first-line supervisors of personal service workers earned a median of $35,150.

Education Requirements

Because every state and the District of Columbia require hair stylists to hold a valid license, a salon owner who also performs services on customers must be licensed. State license requirements vary, but in general, stylists need to complete a state-approved cosmetology or barbering program, a designated number of hours of practical experience and pass a state exam. In some cases, the barber or cosmetology school requires applicants to hold either a high school diploma or GED. In most cases, licensed stylists need to maintain their licenses through continuing education.

If the salon owner does not plan to provide hair or cosmetology services, but only intends to serve an owner or managerial role, there are no specific education requirements. However, a salon owner may benefit from studying business operations, accounting, marketing and advertising. Whether a salon owner styles hair or not, training in customer service and interpersonal communication may prove useful for managing a client base and employees. Informally, a salon owner should stay informed on current trends in hair styles, products and procedures to ensure that the salon remains on the cutting edge of fashion and retains a satisfied client base.

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